Friday, May 13, 2011

How Not to Plant Tulips

Like a long line rather than in a concentrated clump.

These tulips came with the house, so I am not actually responsible for this (although admittedly I haven't done anything about it for five years, so maybe I'm an accessory to plant design-acide).

But no longer! This is the year I dig these up and move them to the bed where I have massed tulips (and plan to mass more Darwin varieties so I don't have to do this every fall). But how should I move them? Or more specifically, when?

I would prefer to dig them up now once they've finished flowering because I know where they are. If I wait until the fall their foliage will be long gone and I'll be digging blindly.

Of course I could mark them with plant markers, but then I'll have marker sticks randomly around my garden all year. And they could get ruined by fall anyway. If the severe storms we had earlier this week happen with any sort of frequency I wouldn't be at all surprised to have plant markers washed away.

Has anyone out there successfully moved tulips post-flowering? Will I kill the bulbs if I do that? Feel free to leave suggestions!

Pictured at left, front to back: 'Dordogne', 'Negrita', 'Rembrandt's Favorite', one 'El Cid' and an un-named yellow variety.


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

The easiest way to move tulips is to wait until the foliage is yellowing, but not gone. Then dig up the whole clump with a fork and replant them. Take a photo of the replanted clump so you have a record that won't blow away. The hardest part of moving tulips is getting all the little bulbettes out.

garden girl said...

I've done it successfully with tulips, daffodils, and all manner of bulbs from tiny to large. They don't always bloom the first year after moving them, but I concur that spring is the best time to move them. (Some bulb fertilizer in the planting hole seems to help with bloom the following year.)

It's so much easier moving them before the foliage disappears than trying to find them in the fall.

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